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What You Should Think, Science Edition

We perused the various opinion sections across DC media today, mostly so you don’t have to. We even picked up on a theme: science. Here’s a selection of what we found.

Panic!

For a second, we thought we were reading The Onion when we saw “America’s Looming Helium Disaster” atop a Politico column this morning. We pictured ruined children’s birthday parties and proms without balloon arches. The devastation! But this was not The Onion and we learned that helium is actually used for a lot more than just making things float. Scientists need helium for critical experiments, for example. MRI machines require it to work. Next generation semiconductors depend on it. According to the two scientists that wrote the piece, there’s also a critical shortage and problems in the crude helium markets—at least, there could be unless Congress acts soon. Bonus points to this one just for working in phrases like “helium must not be held hostage to congressional gridlock” and “havoc in the U.S. and global helium markets.” We like the drama.

Global warming? Pshaaaw…


Plants need CO2, so how is it bad?


The Washington Times tells us everything we need to know about carbon dioxide in an editorial this morning: it’s used by liberals as part of their “global-warming scam,” any rules to regulate it are an “an attack on our way of life” and plants need it to make oxygen. They got that last part mostly right, but aside from ignoring the fact that too much carbon dioxide can be harmful to plants, they undercut themselves even further by hailing the sideshow that is Washington state Rep. Ed Orcutt. Remember him? He claimed bicyclists pollute because their increased heart rate makes them breathe faster, and therefore they release more CO2 into the atmosphere. Following that logic, obviously, bikes are just as bad as cars. He later apologized for his remarks, calling them over the top, but no one on the Washington Times editorial board saw a need to mention that fact. They were too busy worrying about how new Co2 rules might cause our microwaves to heat food a little slower. That, is the true problem facing our planet.

Someone Gave Slate the Anti-Abortion Playbook

In Slate, William Saletan throws a little cold water on House Republican’s fetal pain argument, the one they used to justify the will-never-be-law ban on abortions beyond 20 weeks they passed yesterday. The science, as it turns out, is not as clear cut as Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) tries to make it in this Politico op-ed, despite her whole point being that those who like science should just be on her side, because it’s science. What’s most interesting, however, is that Saletan’s main argument—that 20 weeks is just another step down the ladder for conservatives who really want to ban all abortion—tracks with everything Blackburn says in her own piece, despite her assertions to the contrary. Two possibilities here. Saletan is either prescient, or he’s just been paying attention to everything the anti-abortion crowd has said, instead of everything they tell you they said.

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